April 21st, 2010

Partnering for a Healthier Future

From Tish Lascelle, Senior Director, Strategy and Assurance, Worldwide Environment, Health & Safety,
Johnson & Johnson

On Earth Day 2010, I’ll be thinking about the year 2015.

I work in an environmental and sustainability capacity for Johnson & Johnson, and during the past 12 months I’ve been stewarding the development of our next set of long-term sustainability goals: our Healthy Future 2015 goals.

When I was a kid I was inspired by Marie Curie. Learning about her was my first realization that women could be scientists – and, she did it in the early 1900’s! On top of that, she was cool because she discovered and named two elements, most notably radium – the early ‘glo’ in Day-Glo (yes, also a child of the 60’s). Madame Curie once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more.” Her words resonate with me today as I work with the team at Johnson & Johnson to understand more about our role in contributing to a healthier future. I believe our sustainability strategy is richer because we invite the views of our stakeholders.

Dialogue with external partners helps us to identify and understand emerging risks and opportunities in the sustainability space. To develop our Healthy Planet 2010 goals, we partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) for their ideas about what kind of environmental goals we should have.

WWF thought that Johnson & Johnson could be a good ally in their work to conserve biodiversity and they pushed for us to have biodiversity and forest product goals. While acknowledging that we don’t have a large, direct impact on forests like a paper company or agricultural company, WWF knew that we had significant purchasing power which, applied thoughtfully, could make a difference in global forest management. With their help, we established a Forest Products Purchasing Guideline and this year, we are successfully wrapping up our goals to source office paper and paper packaging more sustainably. (You can read more about all of our goals and our progress in our Sustainability Report.)

In thinking about 2015 sustainability goals for Johnson & Johnson, the team I work with invited Practice Greenhealth (PGH) into the conversation. PGH is a community of health care organizations and professionals who are working to ‘green’ health care to improve the health of patients, staff and the environment. They are educating us and their members about leadership in green health care; we often bounce our ideas to green our products off them and they push us to consider product changes that frankly, could be difficult business decisions. See, this is the thing about stakeholder engagement – you have to be open to some discomfort because you may not always start out eye to eye. The payoff is good citizenship and better business strategy.

Our 2015 goals are still a work in progress, but “improving the environmental profile of our products” is very much in there. Later this year, we’ll be announcing all of our new goals. In the meantime, I hope you will share your perspectives with us as we continue to talk about what we can do to achieve a more sustainable future.

Leave a Reply

All comments will be reviewed before posting. Since this blog is about Johnson & Johnson, comments that don’t directly relate to the Company or to topics covered on this blog won’t be posted. Please see our comments policy for details.